JERUSALEM — Arab foreign ministers met in Egypt on Saturday to discuss their response to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The proposed U.S. embassy move announced Wednesday has set off a wave of anger in the Palestinian territories.
There’s nothing diplomatic about these exchanges on the streets: It’s rocks and firebombs vs. tear gas and rubber bullets.
Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces continued Saturday following.
Anger and grief were on display in a Gaza hospital and at three funerals there — one for a Hamas member killed in an Israeli airstrike. That strike was launched in retaliation for rockets fired by the Islamic group.
In the West Bank, Bethlehem is usually known as the birthplace of Jesus, but this holiday season it’s a battleground.
“Mr. Trump is putting gasoline on fire,” said Mohammed Salahab, who has had a shop in the Old City of Jerusalem for nearly three decades.
This year was one of his best, but he worries tourists will be scared away.
“This is the last thing we need from Mr. Trump,” Salahab said. “When he get in power, he kept promising everybody that he going to bring peace — he is going to bring so much bloodshed into the region.”
On the other side of town, some Israelis told us they’re worried.
“We’re used to violence here,” said Uzi Sharabi.
Sharabi is one of many who are defiant and grateful for any U.S. support.
“The Palestinians also see Jerusalem as a very holy place — this is not their capital. Capital of Israel!” Sharabi said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with Vice President Mike Pence on an upcoming trip to the region. And now a Christian group in the region — Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church — said it also would not meet with the vice president when he visits that country, calling the U.S. move “inappropriate and without consideration for millions of people.”
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